The 30 Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds of 2022

The Mega Bloks First Builders Bag is one of our top picks for 18 month olds

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Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds

Verywell Family / Sabrina Jiang

By 18-months-old, little ones are starting to learn more about their surroundings and engage in more independent play. They’ve outgrown a lot of their little baby toys, but they’re not old enough for more complex ones with small parts. 

Reviewed & Approved

The Mega Bloks First Builders Bag is full of durable, high-grade plastic blocks that can help develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills. If you prefer an outdoor instead, we recommend Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike.

Gifts for kids in this age group should be safe, help them meet milestones, and encourage them to use their bodies. “They will climb anything in their way. They love to use push and pull objects like a shopping cart or a pull train,” says Dyan Hes, MD, a pediatrician and medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City. “They are just beginning to enjoy pretend play and will often serve you tea or bake you a cake. They still love to hide objects, but now they remember their location." We looked carefully at the material, age recommendations, and value of toys for 18-month-olds when reviewing products.

Based on our reviews and research, these are the best toys available for 18-month-olds right now.

Mega Bloks First Builders Bag

4.9
Mega Bloks First Builders Bag

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Includes a storage bag

  • Develops hand-eye coordination and motor skills

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Not BPA-free

  • Some blocks don't stay connected

  • Plastic odor possible upon opening

With their easy-to-hold shape and bright colors, these classic Mega Bloks are the perfect gift for toddlers. The set comes with 80 durable, high-grade plastic blocks in a convenient zip-up storage bag. Recommended for ages 1 and up, they’re ideal for developing hand-eye coordination and motor skills, as well as inspiring creativity.

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike

Radio Flyer, 4-in-1 Stroll 'n Trike

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Holds up to 49 pounds

  • UV blocking canopy

  • Includes a cup holder and storage compartment

Cons
  • No seat pad

  • Pedals too far away for some children

  • Assembly required

Designed to grow with your little one, this ride-on toy from Radio Flyer converts from a toddler trike to a steering trike, learn-to-ride-trike, and finally a classic trike. It’s recommended for ages 9 months to 5 years and can hold kids up to 49 pounds. The trike comes with useful features such as an adjustable UV blocking canopy, cup holder, and rear storage compartment, making it perfect for family strolls.

What Our Experts Say

"Most 18-month-olds are adventurous, and even a bit reckless, especially as they learn to walk with confidence. Watch out for toys like baby walkers that can put toddlers at risk for falls, especially around stairs." —Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP, author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo

love-to-hug-elmo

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Speaks English and Spanish

  • Soft fabric

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Electrical insides can be felt

  • May break easily if dropped

  • Arms can stop working after extended use

What 18-month-old doesn’t love Elmo? When you give him a hug, this Elmo doll will hug you back, offer a kiss, and sing in English or Spanish for bilingual playtime. With the ability to respond to baby’s touch, hugs, and squeezes, there are seemingly endless features to discover. Recommend for ages 18 months and up.

Green Toys Tide Pool Set & Submarine

Green Toys Tide Pool Set & Submarine

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • BPA-free

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Includes a storage bag

Cons
  • Kids may tire of it quickly

  • Some pieces too big for small hands

  • Best for water use only

This versatile Green Toys set includes a submarine and six shells and sea creatures that are perfect for creative play at the beach or in the tub. Made from recycled plastic, the entire set is BPA free and dishwasher safe. The seaweed-patterned storage bag has holes on the bottom and sides, allowing the pieces to drain and dry out between uses. Recommended for ages 6 months and up.

Battat Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset

Battat Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Promotes sensory learning

  • Travel-friendly

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Smaller pieces pose choking hazard

  • Barn door may fall off easily

  • No chicken included

Perfect for imaginative play, this toddler-friendly set comes with a toy barn and adorable animals. Just the right size for little hands, it has plenty of textures and colors to promote sensory learning and also features a handle for easy transport. Complete with four farm animals and one dutiful farmer, your little one’s farmhouse is full of fun characters. Recommended for ages 18 months and up.

Fisher-Price Bounce & Spin Puppy

Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy

 Courtesy of Fisher-Price

Pros
  • Interactive buttons and lights

  • Teaches numbers, letters, and simple words

  • Durable

Cons
  • Batteries not included/required

  • Bulky

  • Assembly required

For toddlers who love to bounce, this adorable dog provides them a safe, sturdy way to move. As your little one bounces up and down or presses the interactive buttons and lights, they can listen to music, the alphabet, numbers, or other simple words and phrases. The sturdy base keeps your tot safe while they ride. Recommended for ages 1 year old and up.

Boon Building Bath Pipes Toy Set

Boon Pipes Bath Toy Set

Courtesy of Buy Buy Baby

Pros
  • Easy to clean and dry

  • Inspires creativity

  • Durable

Cons
  • Suction cups could be better

  • Difficult to clean

  • Possibility of mold growth if crevices not cleaned

Another toy to make bath time more fun, these pipes suction to the bathroom wall so toddlers can create a chain to pour water through. Each pipe has a unique shape and function and can be used either separately or together. Recommended for ages 12 months and up, they rinse with soap and clean water and can be air-dried to avoid mildew growth.

Learning Resources New Sprouts Munch It! Pretend Play Food

Learning Resources New Sprouts Munch It! Pretend Play Food

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Durable pieces

  • 20 pieces included

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Smaller pieces pose choking hazard

  • Food in bowls not removable

  • Bowl foods may come unglued

This realistic-looking play food set comes with 20 high-quality, crush-resistant plastic pieces, including toddler favorites such as macaroni and cheese and a juice box. Whether they want to pretend they’re food shopping, cooking, or eating at a restaurant, they’ll have fun while building vocabulary and engaging in dramatic play. Hope your pretend appetite is ready! Recommended for ages 18 months and up.

What the Experts Say

"Eighteen months mark the beginnings of symbolic play. Toddlers start to understand that an object can represent something else. They will imitate every day routines and actions they see, like giving a bottle to their stuffed bear. Imitation and pretend play help children learn about their culture, routines, other people’s experience and their environment." Elizabeth Zack, PhD, outreach and education specialist at the University of Washington

Sesame Street Peekaboo Cookie Monster

Sesame Street Peekaboo Cookie Monster

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Interactive

  • Soft and plush

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Can be hard to press

  • Cookie doesn’t feel sturdy

  • Cookie Monster does not stand

You can finally give your arms a rest from playing endless rounds of peekaboo. The ultra-adorable Cookie Monster plays the toddler favorite Peekaboo by hiding his face behind his oversized cookie. Recommended for ages 18 months and up, the plush toy also hiccups and says funny expressions such as "Hey! Me busy eating cookie!"

Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles

Melissa and Doug pull back cars

Courtesy of Melissa and Doug

Pros
  • Soft fabric

  • Develops hand-eye coordination and motor skills

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Doesn't work well on carpet

  • Paint on tires may wear over time

  • Colors can fade if machine washed

Toddlers can pull back on one of these soft fabric vehicles and then watch them zoom across the floor. Ideal for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, the four colorful cars will also inspire imaginative and creative play. The soft texture is perfect for little hands that like to toss toys across the room. Recommended for ages 9 months and up.

LEGO DUPLO My First Car Creations

LEGO DUPLO My First Car Creations

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 34 pieces included

  • Builds four different vehicles

  • Character/traffic light decorations

Cons
  • Smaller pieces pose choking hazard

  • No storage bag

  • Wheeled vehicles may not roll well on carpet

Toddlers aren’t too young to be part of the LEGO fun, thanks to colorful DUPLO blocks that are recommended for ages 18 months and up and perfect for tiny hands. With this set, they can create four different vehicles and link them together to make dozens of combinations. The mix-and-match ability allows your tot to express their creative side.

LeapFrog Sweet Treats Musical Deluxe Tea Set

LeapFrog Sweet Treats Musical Deluxe Tea Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Teaches colors, counting, and matching

  • Great for independent and group play

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Included treat box isn't durable

  • Top tier on cake stand can fall off easily

  • Forks are large compared to plates

This adorable tea set encourages pretend play and helps kids ages 12 months and up learn colors, counting, matching, and collaborative play. They can host a tea party as they listen to seven different songs and hear the teapot make sloshing sounds as it pours. A wonderful way to introduce toddlers to sharing, they can play by themselves, with you, or among friends. 

Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

5
Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches colors, counting, and sorting

  • Easy to clean up

Cons
  • Quills are small (posing choking hazard)

  • Spikes can be difficult to take out

  • Toy falls over easily

Spike the Hedgehog helps kids practice their fine motor skills as they maneuver his removable, colorful quills in and out of the holes on his back. The cute hedgehog also encourages color recognition, sorting, and counting. Recommended for kids aged 18 months and up, the toy is also a cinch to clean up, since all the quills pack up neatly inside the hedgehog’s body.

TOP BRIGHT Race Track Set

TOP BRIGHT Race Track Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Encourages independent play

  • Teaches colors and counting

  • Durable

Cons
  • Not all pieces made of wood

  • Parking lot on top does not hold all four cars

  • Cars are small (posing choking hazard)

This race track set is perfect for encouraging independent play and developing focus as toddlers set cars in motion and watch them roll and flip down the race track. Plus, the cars’ bright colors and numbers help kids practice their counting and color recognition skills. Recommended for ages 12 months and up.

Battat Wooden Activity Cube

Battat Wooden Activity Cube

Walmart

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches colors, shapes, letters, and numbers

  • No assembly required

Cons
  • Can fall over

  • Paint may come off over time

  • Wood can chip if dropped

Each panel of the Battat Wooden Activity Cube features different activities to help toddlers develop their motor skills and learn about colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. Recommended for kids 1 and up, this sturdy, durable toy is perfect for independent or side-by-side play. The best part is that it arrives fully assembled and ready to play with straight out of the box.

Little Tikes First Slide

Little Tikes First Slide

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors

  • Easy to store

  • Generous weight limit

Cons
  • Assembly required

  • Doesn’t feel sturdy

  • Handles and seat are small

Designed for kids ages 18 months to 6 years, this beginner slide can be used both indoors and outside and has handrails for added stability. The perfect height for little ones, this miniature slide is a wonderful all-season activity toy. It folds down effortlessly, making it easy to move around or stow away.

LEGO My First Alphabet Truck

LEGO My First Alphabet Truck

Courtesy of Best Buy

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches letters and word building

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Doesn't include a storage bag

  • Trailer and truck do not stay together

  • Trailer difficult to reattach for some children

With letters, colors, figures, and a truck, this DUPLO set is an ideal gift for kids ages 18 months and up. The easy-to-handle bricks are perfect for tiny hands to build and stack as toddlers learn their letters and work on fine motor skills. As they improve their letter recognition skills, they can practice building words too!

VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

Smart Shots Sports Center

Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

Pros
  • Interactive sounds and lights

  • Encourages independent play

  • Teaches shapes and numbers

Cons
  • Loud

  • Batteries required

  • Bulky

Sporty toddlers will love that they can play both soccer and basketball with this 2-in-1 toy. Recommended for ages 1 year old and up, the set lights up, plays music, and makes sounds while also keeping track of baskets on the scoreboard. The purple side lever makes it easy for your toddler to restart the scoreboard all by themselves to encourage independent play.

What Our Editors Say

"My toddler loves to kick and throw balls outside. In the winter months, when we don't want to spend hours in the backyard, this little sports center was a family favorite toy. The two included balls are small enough and soft enough that we were never concerned about them causing any damage inside our home." Ashleigh Morley, Verywell Family Commerce Editorial Director

Learning Friends 100 Words Book

Learning Friends Word Book

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Speaks English and Spanish

  • Teaches word building

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Loud

  • Touch sensitive

  • Yellow star can be distracting

Designed for kids 18 months and up, this fun, interactive toy helps toddlers build early language skills. Words are separated into categories like pets, mealtime, opposites, and many more to help toddlers learn and understand the meaning of words. They can touch the words and pictures on each page and hear how they’re pronounced, in English or Spanish, and also listen to fun facts, music, and other sounds.

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Caterpillar Gear Toy

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Caterpillar Gear Toy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops hand-eye coordination and motor skills

  • Teaches colors and matching

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Pieces fall off caterpillar easily

  • Gears are plastic, not wood

  • May not keep interest long

Toddlers will be mesmerized as they turn the colorful gears and watch the caterpillar crawl on the wooden base. Each of the colorful gears can be removed and added back to the wooden base to encourage color matching. Recommended for ages 18 months and up, this hands-on toy helps promote coordination and motor skills.

Little Tikes Shopping Cart

Little Tikes Shopping Cart

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • BPA-, latex-, PVC-, and phthalate-free

  • Can be used indoors and outdoors

  • Can pair with other toys

Cons
  • Assembly required

  • Wheels do not turn

  • Bulky

This tried-and-true favorite from Little Tikes inspires toddlers to engage in imaginative role-play. Made from durable, BPA-, latex-, PVC- and phthalate-free plastic, it features easy-push wheels that are designed to protect indoor surfaces yet still work outside. This fun shopping cart is a great toy to pair with their other pretend toys like toddler play food and pretend kitchen. Recommend for ages 18 months and up.

What Our Experts Say

"Toys at this age should encourage your child’s burgeoning motor skills, as well as their natural curiosity. Pretend play is also important at this age. Blocks and stacking toys can help with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination." —Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP, author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

Courtesy of Kohl's 

Pros
  • Encourages healthy and helpful habits

  • Interactive buttons and sounds

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Smaller pieces pose choking hazard

  • Batteries required

  • Back rooms on house can’t be secured/locked

With multiple rooms featuring lots of opportunities for hands-on, interactive play, this Little People playset is a safe and sturdy option for toddlers starting at 12 months. Your little one can explore the house as they hear songs, sounds, and phrases. The interactive set encourages toddlers to help and care for family and pets while building real-life healthy and helpful habits.

LeapFrog Choppin' Fun Learning Pot

LeapFrog Choppin' Fun Learning Pot

Walmart

Pros
  • Five step-by-step recipes

  • Includes lights

  • Number dial and veggie lights

Cons
  • Knob for bubbles goes fast

  • Pot is small

  • Batteries required

Little ones will have a blast pretending to cook by chopping apart veggies and putting them in the pot. There are four veggie buttons children can press to learn more about the vegetables' taste, color, and even recipes. Designed for children 12 months old and up, toddlers can copy the step-by-step recipes to become a true chef.

Hape DJ Mix and Spin Studio

Hape DJ Mix and Spin Studio

Walmart

Pros
  • 18 keys

  • More than 27 musical options

  • Working tempo slider

Cons
  • 3 batteries required

  • Keyboard is small

  • Loud

Kids can dance to the beat of their own drum (literally!) by creating their own music from this 18-key piano. With 18 different sound effects, 5 background tunes, and 4 DJ noises to mix in, children will learn hand-eye coordination and rhythm. To make their music extra unique, kids can use the slider to change the tempo of their music.

Cocomelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll

Cocomelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll

Amazon

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • 7 sounds/phrases

  • JJ’s teddy bear included

Cons
  • Not machine washable

  • Head is heavy/hard

  • JJ’s teddy bear cannot be removed

If your toddler is a fan of the hit show Cocomelon, they're going to love hanging out with their friend, JJ! When JJ's tummy is squeezed, he'll say seven different sounds and phrases, and even play the famous Bedtime song. While he can't be machine washed, the plush doll also comes with a mini version of JJ's teddy bear.

Pottery Barn Kids Classic Step Stool

Classic Step Stool
Courtesy of PB Kids.
Pros
  • Can be personalized

  • One- and two-step options

  • Side handles

Cons
  • Only three color options

  • Personalization is an additional cost

  • Should not be cleaned with household cleaners

Practical and personal, a step stool with their name on it will come in useful on countless occasions. It comes in four different colors and in both one-step and two-step models.

Munchie Mug Snack Cup

Munchie Mug Snack Cup

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Soft/stretchy lid

  • Different color choices

  • Large handle

Cons
  • Must be hand washed

  • Only two size options

  • Stickers cost extra

When it comes to taking care of toddlers, snacks are key. This fun cup lets them take their favorites along in style, while a soft fabric opening keeps them from spilling. It comes in an array of fun color choices adorned with numbers for learning.

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Stainless steel frame

  • Adjustable seat/handlebars

  • No tools required

Cons
  • Assembly required

  • May be outgrown quickly

  • Costly

This balance bike from Strider is designed so that even the littlest tykes can get up and going on two wheels without training wheels. There are no pedals; instead, they power it with their feet, so it’s great exercise and a fun way to build balance and other gross motor skills. 

Munchkin CleanSqueeze 4 Piece Bath Squirts

Munchkin CleanSqueeze 4 Piece Bath Squirts

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Made of soft material

  • Float in the water

  • Easy to clean

Cons
  • Can fall apart easily

  • Doesn’t squirt water well

  • Has not been tested for dishwasher safety

These cute, colorful toys make bathtime fun for little ones and parents alike. They twist apart for easy cleaning, so adults can keep them mold-free.

Prextex Dinosaur Volcano House with Plush Dinosaurs

Prextex Dinosaur Volcano House with Plush Dinosaurs

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Dinosaurs and volcano are plush/soft

  • 5 dinosaurs included

  • Volcano doubles as storage box

Cons
  • Some dinosaurs may be duplicates

  • Volcano design is not realistic

  • Eyes are beads, not sewn on

Dinosaurs are popular among kids of all ages, but this set of five plush ones is perfect for 18-month-olds. It also comes with a volcano to encourage imaginative play and for easy clean-up once they’re done. The easy zip volcano makes toting around their dinos super easy and convenient.

Final Verdict

Eye-catching and perfectly sized for little hands, the Mega Bloks Big Building Bag (view at Amazon) promotes multiple skills at once, including imagination, creativity, and hand-eye coordination. 

If you’re looking for a toy for outdoor outings, the Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ’N Trike (view at Amazon) makes a perfect addition for leisure strolls. Complete with four modes, it conveniently grows with your kiddo until they’re five. 

What to Look for in Toys for 18-Month-Olds

Safety

At 18 months old, toddlers are becoming more independent and curious, which means safety is extremely important. When shopping for toys, consider how the toy will be used and what amount of supervision or help a toddler will need to safely play with the toy. Parents and caregivers should avoid toys that require high-powered magnets and button batteries. Toys with small parts or that can fit entirely in a child’s mouth should also be kept away, as they are choking hazards.

Child development expert Elizabeth Zack recommends creating "yes" spaces, which are "flexible environments where it’s okay for children to touch and explore. They promote independence and support children’s curiosity because they reduce how often you need to say 'no' or 'don’t' or 'stop.'"

Zack says, "You can create a 'yes' space by putting up safe barriers like baby gates or using a play yard to keep child within a specific area where everything in it is safe for them to explore. Get down on a child’s level and look around your space. Remove small objects that may be a choking hazard or items that are breakable. Make sure outlets are covered. Put toys and materials in places that your child can access them in a safe way."

Milestones

Knowing developmental milestones helps you evaluate whether your child is on the right track as they get older. Milestones come in the form of social, emotional, language-based, cognitive, and physical skills. Keep the following 18-month-old milestones in mind when shopping for toys.  

  • Speaking several single words: The LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book (view on Amazon) encourages language development.
  • Pulls toys while walking: The Hape Frog Pull-Along (view on Amazon) promotes movement and physical development.
  • Plays simple pretend: To encourage social and emotional milestones, check out the Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home (view on Amazon). 

Physicality

Buying toys that encourage your child to move and use their bodies while playing is important. It promotes confidence in children when it comes to their bodies and makes them stronger. Physical toys, like balls of different shapes and sizes or a wagon to fill and pull, are great places to start. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many words should an 18-month old know?

    Eighteen-month olds might have anywhere from 5 to 40 words in their vocabulary. That can include nouns like “ball” or “cup,” as well as words like “hi” and “please.” They might be able to mimic quite a few words they hear in conversation as well. Every child is different, though, and the normal language developmental range varies widely, so always check in with your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s development.

  • How do I clean a child's toys?

    A child’s toys can be cleaned with a simple solution of soap and water to help remove dirt, dust, and bacteria. If you need something stronger, look for a cleaning solution that carries the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice label. Over 2,000 products available at retailers fall into this category. This label meets agency standards for safer chemicals that are less harmful, including to children.

  • Are puzzles good for toddlers?

    Puzzles are a great way for toddlers to learn spatial skills and grasp the connection between physical shapes and forms. Look for puzzles that are age-appropriate so that they’re just challenging enough, and not overwhelming. Try not to make puzzles all about completing; some of the fun and learning is in the problem-solving it takes to get to the final finished puzzle.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Christine Luff is a freelance writer who covers fitness, health, parenting, and other topics. She’s also mom to a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, who have always enjoyed a wide range of active and educational toys.

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5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Toy buying tips for babies & young children: AAP report explained.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Choking prevention.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important milestones: Your child by eighteen months.

  4. Zero to Three. Tips for choosing toys for toddlers.

  5. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Learn about the Safer Choice Label.